Saturday, December 24, 2011

Season's Greetings: Enjoy...

It is the holiday season – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and such – and in spite of the all the commercials and the shopping and the lights, and the efforts my wife especially, has made to make our home an inviting and happy place for this time of year, I’m just not feeling it.  Not to worry; this is normal for me.  
It serves no purpose to try to analyze it, to try to explain it or even fake it.  I spent years genuinely enjoying this time of year when our kids were little, but right about the time the kids themselves began to lose the enthusiasm you see from 4-year-olds (they were in their teens, actually), the thrill was gone for me.  I am comforted in knowing that I am not alone in just wishing that we could skip from late-October to early January. 

 It isn’t my intent to be a Debbie Downer about it, and let's face it, it wont stop me from gorging myself on samples of the fudge, cookies, snicker doodles and date nut bars that Eva pumps out for the occasion. I even plan to make some jalapeno cheese squares, some deviled eggs, a turkey and a ham, and I plan to enjoy the day with family and friends.

I could just as well leave it at this, but I feel the urge to get something off my chest, and I hope those of you who read the blog will indulge me for just a few more paragraphs. 

Eva and I have been blessed in so many ways, but above all, we have been blessed to have two incredibly wonderful children who have grown into adulthood and, thankfully, have bypassed all of the stages and problems that we and many parents fear.   As they approached middle and high school, we feared there would be forces outside our span of control that might lead them down the wrong paths.  We knew that our influence could only go so far, and at some point the kids would have to make decisions on their own.  We weren't alone as parents who feared the decisions that could include drug use, gang activity, dropping out of school or just getting in with the wrong crowd. I cannot tell you the number of times we had friends or acquaintances who told of the problems with their own kids, and all we could do was be so incredibly thankful that neither of our kids had taken that path.

In particular, I had a co-worker who openly talked of his drug addicted daughter in her early twenties.  He and his wife were no longer grandparents, happy to babysit a few nights a month so the daughter could go out for an evening.  Instead, they were forced to take responsibility as full time guardians for the innocent child while the addict went in and out of treatment, or just went away.  You hear someone you know tell of this misfortune, and all you can do is be thankful that your own children have not chosen that course.   And, trying not to be obvious about it, you feel pride in your own kids for making the right decisions.

We all do stupid things and there is no crime in that.  You learn from it and you move on.  Experience can often be an extremely painful thing to gain, and sometimes it comes at a heavy price for more than just the person learning the lesson.   But there is also the saying about a every cloud having a silver lining.  The co-worker with the drug-addicted daughter and a grandchild living at home full-time knows both sides of this all too well.  

So as we contemplate what Christmas means to each of us, I just wanted to share with the readers here that the greatest gifts you receive will not necessarily come in the form of a gift card or a hard fought for package from the mall.  They may not be found inside a stocking hanging from the mantel or neatly wrapped under a tree on Christmas morning.  Your greatest gifts could be across town or hundreds of miles away.  Don't wait for one day out of the year, enjoy them when you can.

Season’s Greetings


ctscribbler said...

That's how it is at our house too, although in our case the Xmas treats are mailed to us by my new mother in law Peggy. What a baker! Even the fruitcake is delish. But back to my point ... We both have jobs that heat up at the end of the year, and there just isn't any time for jingle bells. All we want by Xmas Eve is to be alone together and rest and read. This used to depress me, until I realized, no, it's a really sensible reaction to sensory overload. I have a feeling that the holiday spirit will show up again when (if) we retire, or when (if) we have grandchildren. But in the meantime...merry Xmas, and enjoy your deer friends!

Dave said...

I think that is a really good way to look at it. Though instead of reading, we did spend Christmas Eve with Don Draper and Season 2 of Mad Men. By midnight, my only thoughts of Christmas were if I could find a really good suit and some some thin ties.